April 20, 2009

NAACP Call for Action: End Racial Profiling Act and the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act

I am pleased to see that the NAACP is weighing in on the YouTube video of an off-duty Erie police officer that we shared with you last week.

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous wants the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the Erie Bureau of Police's handling of the incident. The call for a federal probe is the latest fallout from the YouTube video of off-duty Erie police Patrolman James Cousins II joking in a bar about a Black man who was the victim of a recent Erie homicide and about the victim's mother and her reaction at the crime scene. [SOURCE]

"We have grave concerns about the chief because he has not treated this officer in the way one would expect," said Jealous, "We would expect that he (the officer) would be suspended without pay. We would suspect that they (police) would call on somebody from the outside to investigate. That's why we've gone to the DOJ."
During the interview, Jealous decried Cousins' behavior and called for his resignation.

Andre Horton, the president of the local NAACP chapter, said he plans to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the video and the police investigation into it. He also said he expects national representatives from the NAACP to join him in Erie later this week.

"That video is just despicable," Horton said. "And the thing is, is he just caught this time? Had he not been caught on video we'd just be going on as if we had no problems. When we all know we do."
Villagers, I picked up on this video because the Erie cop in the video talks about his use of taser guns in the past. I'm convinced that police officers are not following the use of force continuum. Officer Cousins appears to be totally untrained and insensitive to his responsibility when it comes to using a taser or to being a compassionate human being.

NAACP President Ben Jealous issued the following call to action:

Working with the NAACP, you can help change this situation:

First, e-mail Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and ask him to order an immediate independent investigation into the practices and policies of the Erie police department and to establish an independent civilian review board to investigate citizen complaints.

Second, ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor legislation to provide long-needed regulation of harsh and careless police actions throughout the United States, the End Racial Profiling Act and the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act. These bills are designed to curb outrages like the New Year's Day shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant by transit police in Oakland; the police shooting of Robert Tolan on his front lawn in Bellaire, Texas; and the questionable death of high school football player Billie Joe Johnson, killed in what was described as a "routine traffic stop" in Lucedale, Mississippi. NAACP branches are grappling with each of these cases.

The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act also includes provisions to assist local law enforcement agencies in doing more effective screening of candidates for law enforcement jobs before they are given the power to use deadly force and then during in-service reviews. It also supports the creation of local police accountability and review boards with subpoena power, independent investigatory power, and staffing and other resources needed to provide local community oversight of their law enforcement officers.

While most police officers are courageous public servants, continued police abuses are harming our communities and eroding the trust needed to both prevent and solve crimes. Take action now and help us do something about it.

A lot to chew on villagers. What say u?


Bayrat said...

I wonder if this blog would even exist if the man who was murdered, by another White man, was a White Anglo Saxon Protestant named Anderson. I think not!
There is currently a lynch mob mentality in Erie, PA, and it is being encouraged, indeed incited, by the local “African American Concerned Clergy of Greater Erie” and the NAACP.
The fact that one ignorant, insensitive, police officer makes uncalled for comments while in a drunken stupor, DOES NOT MAKE THIS A RACIAL ISSUE. If the officer is to be fired or disciplined, it should be for what he said about another human being, be he White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Red or any other color we care to call ourselves.
Wake up people! You are either part of the problem or part of the solution, and I certainly don’t see any solutions to anything here.

shell1215 said...

What was said on this video was so unreal. I couldnt even finish listening to it!! Somethng more then a letter needs to be done about this! This is not how we treat people! He needs to come out of that little land he lives in, and come back to reality! This is not how things should be done! The Police Department should take a better look at who there hiring on there force! My love and prayers go to the victims Mother, family, friends, and anyone who is trying to make a difference about this situation.

Villager said...

Bayrat - I respect your opinion. I also understand that you may feel that your town is under seige. However, you would have to agree that James Cousins was coddled by the police chief until outside pressure was placed on the issue, wouldn't you?

Shell1215 - It appears that Cousins' punishment has been upped to 10 day suspension without pay. Still not enough ... but, it does show that outside pressure is making a difference. Cousins' needs to leave the police force. He should have shown the same decency of that young police officer in Texas who treated the NFL football player so poorly at the hospital entrance...

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